ZEELAND — A embattled West Michigan farm operator failed to answer a federal lawsuit filed against it in Missouri and faces new allegations that it failed to pay its bills.
The U.S. District Court for the Eastern District of Missouri entered a clerk’s default against defendant Boersen Farms Inc. of Zeeland after the farm operator failed to respond in a timely manner or plead in a lawsuit filed by agricultural giant Monsanto Co.
In the lawsuit filed on Oct. 4, Monsanto claimed Boersen Farms never paid for the more than $2.3 million in corn and soybean seeds it bought for the 2016 growing season, as MiBiz previously reported. The lawsuit alleges that Boersen Farms missed the payment deadline as part of Monsanto’s interest-free Farmflex financing program, which allows farmers to pay off seed purchases no later than Nov. 25 of the same year.
A process server executed a summons on owner Dennis Boersen on Nov. 16, but federal court records show the company never responded to the allegations.
According to the complaint, Monsanto is demanding Boersen Farms repay the outstanding balance, plus 1.5 percent interest per month since it missed the payment, as well as damages, “reasonable attorney fees and collection costs.”
The judge in the case must issue an order of default judgment for the company to be entitled to collect the money.
Monsanto and representatives of Boersen Farms did not respond to requests for comment by the time this report went to press.
Additionally, BB&T Commercial Equipment Capital Corp. of Malvern, Pa. filed a lawsuit earlier this month against Boersen Farms, alleging breach of contract for failure to pay its bills related to equipment leasing, according to documents filed in the U.S. District Court for the Eastern District of Pennsylvania.
In that case, filed on Jan. 12, BB&T alleged that Boersen failed to pay more than $268,000 for irrigation equipment leasing and financing agreements it signed with Philadelphia-based Leaf Capital Funding LLC.
Boersen Farms originally signed the leasing and financing agreements in 2014 and 2015, according to court filings.
After Boersen Farms failed to submit a payment that was due on July 30, 2017, Leaf Capital assigned its interest in the agreements to BB&T.
In the complaint, BB&T alleges that because Boersen Farms defaulted on its payments, BB&T is entitled to take possession of the equipment.
The clerk’s default in the Monsanto case and the new BB&T allegations come after Boersen Farms and its affiliates have faced a string of lawsuits over the last year.
A clerk’s default against Boersen Farms also was entered in a breach of contract lawsuit involving Boston-based Forward Financing LLC, which purchased $224,250 of Boersen Farm’s future receipts for $150,000 on Jan. 31, 2017, according to court filings in the U.S. District Court for the District of Massachusetts.
After Boersen Farms failed to respond to the allegations, the court clerk entered a default on Dec. 8, 2017. On Dec. 13, Forward Financing filed a motion for default judgment for $152,366 in damages that it claims it is owed in the case.
Additionally, the U.S. District Court in Utah in October 2017 ordered Boersen Farms to pay more than $19.5 million for breach of contract related to equipment leases and contempt of court in a case brought by an affiliate of Tetra Financial Group of Cottonwood Heights, Utah, as MiBiz previously reported.
Minnesota-based CHS Capital LLC also sued Boersen Farms in August of last year, alleging the company owed more than $145 million in outstanding unpaid balances. The court appointed a receiver for Boersen Farms, which was preparing to file for bankruptcy at the time. However, CHS later transferred its interest in Boersen Farms’ unpaid debts to Zeeland-based LT Capital LLC.
LT Capital, whose registered agent is Brian Terborg, the CFO at Zeeland Farm Services Inc., then moved to dismiss the case in October, ending the receivership.